I found this short story in a book I read over Christmas. It was just at the time God was beginning to speak to me about wells. I nearly fell of my chair when I began to read it – it was so appropriate for where I was at right then, and still am.
The Weary Artisan
A weary artisan has been wandering in the desert of creativity for days. Her heart is dry and her lungs are lined with sand. She desperately needs to discover some notion of some idea that is, in some way, creative. Her village elders are counting on her to create – to bring their ideas into an existence that stirs, inspires and communicates.
In the distance, she sees the beautiful image of a well. She drags her sand-caked feet toward the image, and reads the hand-carved sign on an old piece of wood, propped up against the well.
The sign reads, ‘creativity.’
She places her wind-brned hands against the circular cobblestone wall that surrounds the seemingly bottomless hole in the ground.
She cusps her hands, leans down, and she fills her palms with…
The air from the empty well whisks upward, through her hands, through her hair and into the sky.
The Well of Creativity is empty.
She’s desperate, so she continues her journey. She discovers four then five more wells. All have a sign near them that promise ‘creativity.’
And all are empty.
After severe disappointment and extreme thirst, there appears to be one well in the distance,. Any hope for finding the Creative Idea has been reduced to ashes, and she questions whether or not to even approach this well. her heart is weary, her lips are dry, and hr village needs her to return with that sacred gift. And soon.
She moves toward the well, and sees a wooden sign, propped up against the stones. But the sign says something different at this well. Rather than, ‘Creativity’, this sign says…
‘The Living God.’
She leans into the well, barely. She cups her palms together, reaches down and is immediately flooded with the cool waters of a Creative Idea. She’s finally discovered what she’s been searching for all along. And now her fruitless searching has borne sweet fruit.
A Creative Concept that will benefit the entire village.
She arrives back in that village, and her elder question her about the creative idea she’s returned with. Her explanation is simple.
She respectfully speaks: “I found the Well of Creativity to be empty – time and time again. While there were many seeking to drink for it there was nothing there. It may have been a mirage.”
But she continues…
“When after many days, however, I discovered the Well of the Living God, I was supplied with the Creative Idea I was searching for, and that our village needed.
Two of the village Elders simply stared, but one smiled.
He had been on the same journey years before.
The book where I found this is called “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art” by Gary A Molander. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I’ve almost finished reading it a second time and I am going to read it a third time, there is just so much truth in it if you are in any way involved with creativity or the church or both.